. John Berger - The Storyteller 約翰伯格-講故事的人. 簡體版: 廣西師範大學出版社. 翁海貞譯
伯格的思想引導他成為農民，而他作為農民的經驗又影響他的思想，這一點是無法表述的。我們暫且孤立出一個重要的方面：相對於工業資本主義的宣傳，農民階級 保存著一種歷史感，一種時間的經驗。以伯格的話來說，扮演毀滅歷史角色的不是馬克思主義者或者無產階級的革命，而是資本主義本身。資本主義的興趣是切斷與 過去的所有聯繫，將所有努力和想像轉向未曾發生的未來。
對於剝削和疏遠，農民是再熟悉不過的；但是，對於自欺，他們卻不那麼敏感。正如黑格爾著名的主奴辯證裡的奴隸，他們與死亡、世界的基本過程和節奏之間保持 著更直接的關係。通過他們自己雙手的勞作，他們生產、安排他們的世界。在他們的軼事和故事裡，甚至在他們的閒話裡，他們根據記憶的法則編織自己的歷史。他 們知道是誰通過進步得利，他們有時沉默地，有時秘密地保留著一個完全不同世界的夢想。約翰·伯格展示了應當向他們學習的是什麼。
約翰·伯格 1926年出生於英國倫敦。 1944至1946年在英國軍隊服役。退役後入切爾西藝術學院和倫敦中央藝術學院學習。 1940年代後期，伯格以畫家身份開始其個人生涯，於倫敦多個畫廊舉辦展覽。 1948年至1955年，他以教授繪畫為業，並為倫敦著名雜誌《新政治家》撰稿，迅速成為英國頗具爭議性的藝術批評家。 1958年，伯格發表了他的第一部小說《我們時代的畫家》，講述一個匈牙利流亡畫家的故事。此書揭露的政治秘聞，以及對繪畫過程細節的刻畫，令讀者誤 以為這是一部紀實作品。迫於“文化自由大會”的壓力，出版商在此書上市一個月之後便回收入倉庫。之後發表《克萊夫的腳》和《科克的自由》兩部小說，展示英 國都市生活的疏離和憂鬱。 1962年，伯格離開英國。 1972年，他的電視系列片《觀看之道》在BBC播出，同時出版配套的圖文冊，遂成藝術批評的經典之作。小說G，一部背景設定於1898年的歐洲的浪 漫傳奇，為他贏得了布克獎及詹姆斯·泰特·布萊克紀念獎。此一時期，伯格亦對社會問題頗為關注，這方面的成果是《幸運的人一個鄉村醫生的故事》和《第七人歐洲農業季節工人》，後者引發了世界範圍內對於農業季節工人的關注。也因為這本書的寫作，伯格選擇定居於法國上薩瓦省一個叫昆西的小村莊。 1970年代中期以來，他一直住在那裡。後來，伯格與讓·摩爾合作制 作了攝影圖文集《另一種講述的方式》，將對攝影理論的探索與對農民生活經驗的記錄結合在一起。 他對單個藝術家的研究最富盛名的是《畢加索的成敗》，以及《藝術與革命》，後者的主角乃是蘇聯異議雕塑家內茲韋斯特尼。 在1970年代，伯格與瑞典導演阿蘭·坦納合作了幾部電影。由他編劇或合作編劇的電影包括《蠑螈》、《世界的中央》以及《喬納2000年將滿25 歲》。進入80年代，伯格創作了“勞動”三部曲，包括《豬玀的大地》、《歐羅巴往事》、《丁香花與旗幟》，展示出歐洲農民在今日經濟政治轉換過程中所承受的失根狀態與經歷的城市貧困。他新近創作的小說有《婚禮》、《國王：一個街頭故事》，還有一部半自傳性作品《我們在此相遇》。 伯格還撰寫了大量有關攝影、藝術、政治與回憶的散文，展示出寬廣的視野和卓越的洞識。這些文章收錄於多部文集，較有影響力者包括《看》、《抵抗的群 體》、《約定》、《講故事的人》等。 2008年，伯格憑藉小說From A to X再次獲得布克獎提名。
不時有些社 團院校－－多數是美國的－－邀我去作美學演講。有一回我想應承下來，帶上隻白色木頭做的鳥去。不過我終究沒有去。問題在於如果不談論希望的法則和邪惡的存 在，就無法談論美學。在漫長的冬季，上薩瓦（HauteSavoie）某些地區的農民會做些木鳥掛在廚房裡，興許也掛在
它叫文 藝復興酒吧，位於火車站鐵道口附近的卡車道旁。裡面絲毫不像個酒吧。實際上，連個吧台都沒有。不過是個小前廳佈置而成的餐館。酒瓶－－不過半打－－擺在一 個裝藥的角落櫃裡。三個男子和一個女人坐在一張桌前打牌－－belote。最年長的男子起身招待我們。
班雅明，若不提 其他顯赫的名聲與頭銜，算來可是個較你我資深許多的「超級讀者」。 1892 年出生於德國，是重要一位文學評論與思想者，並譯有波特萊爾與普魯斯特的作品。
From time to time I have been invited by institutions--mostly American--to speak about aesthetics. On one occasion I considered accepting and I thought of taking with me a bird made of white wood. But I didn't go. The problem is that you can't talk about aesthetics without talking about the principle of hope and the existence of evil. During the long winters the peasants in certain parts of the Haute Savoie used to make wooden birds to hang in their kitchens and perhaps also in their chapels. Friends who are travellers have told me that they have seen similar birds, made according to the same principle, in certain regions of Czechoslovakia, Russia and the Baltic countries. The tradition may be more widespread.
The principle of the construction of these birds is simple enough, although to make a fine bird demands considerable skill. You take two bars of pine wood, about six inches in length, a little less than one inch in height and the same in width. You soak them in water so that the wood has the maximum pliability, then you carve them. One piece will be the head and body with a fan tail, the second piece will represent the wings. The art principally concerns the making of the wing and tail feathers. The whole block of each wing is carved according to the silhouette of a single feather. Then the block is sliced into thirteen thin layers and these are gently opened out, one by one, to make a fan shape. Likewise for the second wing and for the tail feathers. The two pieces of wood are joined together to form a cross and the bird is complete. No glue is used and there is only one nail where the two pieces of wood cross. Very light, weighing only two or three ounces, the birds are usually hung on a thread from an overhanging mantelpiece or beam so that they move with the air currents.
It would be absurd to compare one of these birds to a van Gogh self-portrait or a Rembrandt crucifixion. They are simple, homemade objects, worked according to a traditional pattern. Yet, by their very simplicity, they allow one to categorize the qualities which make them pleasing and mysterious to everyone who sees them.
First there is a figurative representation--one is looking at a bird, more precisely a dove, apparently hanging in mid-air. Thus, there is a reference to the surrounding world of nature. Secondly, the choice of subject (a flying bird) and the context in which it is placed (indoors where live birds are unlikely) render the object symbolic. This primary symbolism then joins a more general, cultural one. Birds, and doves in particular, have been credited with symbolic meanings in a very wide variety of cultures.
Thirdly, there is a respect for the material used. The wood has been fashioned according to its own qualities of lightness, pliability and texture. Looking at it, one is surprised by how well wood becomes bird. Fourthly, there is a formal unity and economy. Despite the object's apparent complexity, the grammar of its making is simple, even austere. Its richness is the result of repetitions which are also variations. Fifthly, this man-made object provokes a kind of astonishment: how on earth was it made? I have given rough indications above, but anyone unfamiliar with the technique wants to take the dove in his hands and examine it closely to discover the secret which lies behind its making.
These five qualities, when undifferentiated and perceived as a whole, provoke at least a momentary sense of being before a mystery. One is looking at a piece of wood that has become a bird. One is looking at a bird that is somehow more than a bird. One is looking at something that has been worked with a mysterious skill and a kind of love.
Thus far I have tried to isolate the qualities of the white bird which provoke an aesthetic emotion. (The word "emotion", although designating a motion of the heart and of the imagination, is somewhat confusing for we are considering an emotion that has little to do with the others we experience, notably because the self here is in a far greater degree of abeyance.) Yet my definitions beg the essential question. They reduce aesthetics to art. They say nothing about the relation between art and nature, art and the world.
Before a mountain, a desert just after the sun has gone down, or a fruit tree, one can also experience aesthetic emotion. Consequently we are forced to begin again--not this time with a man-made object but with the nature into which we are born.
Urban living has always tended to produce a sentimental view of nature. Nature is thought of as a garden, or a view framed by a window, or as an arena of freedom. Peasants, sailors, nomads have known better. Nature is energy and struggle. It is what exists without any promise. If it can be thought of by man as an arena, a setting, it has to be thought of as one which lends itself as much to evil as to good. Its energy is fearsomely indifferent. The first necessity of life is shelter. Shelter against nature. The first prayer is for protection. The first sign of life is pain. If the Creation was purposeful, its purpose is a hidden one which can only be discovered intangibly within signs, never by the evidence of what happens.
It is within this bleak natural context that beauty is encountered, and the encounter is by its nature sudden and unpredictable. The gale blows itself out, the sea changes from the colour of grey shit to aquamarine. Under the fallen boulder of an avalanche a flower grows. Over the shanty town the moon rises. I offer dramatic examples so as to insist upon the bleakness of the context. Reflect upon more everyday examples. However it is encountered, beauty is always an exception, always in despite of. This is why it moves us.
It can be argued that the origin of the way we are moved by natural beauty was functional. Flowers are a promise of fertility, a sunset is a reminder of fire and warmth, moonlight makes the night less dark, the bright colours of a bird's plumage are (atavistically even for us) a sexual stimulus. Yet such an argument is too reductionist, I believe. Snow is useless. A butterfly offers us very little.
Of course the range of what a given community finds beautiful in nature will depend upon its means of survival, its economy, its geography. What Eskimos find beautiful is unlikely to be the same as what the Ashanti found beautiful. Within modern class societies there are complex ideological determinations: we know, for instance, that the British ruling class in the eighteenth century disliked the sight of the sea. Equally, the social use to which an aesthetic emotion may be put changes according to the historical moment: the silhouette of a mountain can represent the home of the dead or a challenge to the initiative of the living. Anthropology, comparative studies of religion, political economy and Marxism have made all this clear.
Yet there seem to be certain constants which all cultures have found 'beautiful': among them--certain flowers, trees, forms of rock, birds, animals, the moon, running water ...
One is obliged to acknowledge a coincidence or perhaps a congruence. The evolution of natural forms and the evolution of human perception have coincided to produce the phenomenon of a potential recognition: what is and what we can see (and by seeing also feel) sometimes meet at a point of affirmation. This point, this coincidence, is two-faced: what has been seen is recognized and affirmed and, at the same time, the seer is affirmed by what he sees. For a brief moment one finds oneself--without the pretensions of a creator--in the position of God in the first chapter of Genesis... And he saw that it was good. The aesthetic emotion before nature derives, I believe, from this double affirmation.
Yet we do not live in the first chapter of Genesis. We live--if one follows the biblical sequence of events--after the Fall. In any case, we live in a world of suffering in which evil is rampant, a world whose events do not confirm our Being, a world that has to be resisted. It is in this situation that the aesthetic moment offers hope. That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe. I try to describe as accurately as possible the experience in question; my starting point is phenomenological, not deductive; its form, perceived as such, becomes a message that one receives but cannot translate because, in it, all is instantaneous. For an instant, the energy of one's perception becomes inseparable from the energy of the creation.
The aesthetic emotion we feel before a man-made object--such as the white bird with which I started--is a derivative of the emotion we feel before nature. The white bird is an attempt to translate a message received from a real bird. All the languages of art have been developed as an attempt to transform the instantaneous into the permanent. Art supposes that beauty is not an exception--is not in despite of--but is the basis for an order.
Several years ago, when considering the historical face of art, I wrote that I judged a work according to whether or not it helped men in the modern world claim their social rights. I hold to that. Art's other, transcendental, face raises the question of man's ontological right.
The notion that art is the mirror of nature is one that only appeals in periods of scepticism. Art does not imitate nature, it imitates a creation, sometimes to propose an alternative world, sometimes simply to amplify, to confirm, to make social the brief hope offered by nature. Art is an organized response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally. Art sets out to transform the potential recognition into an unceasing one. It proclaims man in the hope of receiving a surer reply...the transcendental face of art is always a form of prayer.
The white wooden bird is wafted by the warm air rising from the stove in the kitchen where the neighbours are drinking. Outside, in minus 25ºC, the real birds are freezing to death! (From The Sense of Sight)
John Berger (Strasbourg, 2009)John Peter Berger (born 5 November 1926) is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a college text.
BiographyBorn in Hackney, London, England, Berger was educated at the independent St Edward's School in Oxford. "His father, S.J.D. Berger, O.B.E., M.C., had been an infantry officer on the western front during the First World War". Berger served in the British Army from 1944 to 1946; he then enrolled in the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Art in London. Berger began his career as a painter and exhibited work at a number of London galleries in the late 1940s. His art has been exhibited at the Wildenstein, Redfern and Leicester galleries in London. Berger has continued to paint throughout his career.
While teaching drawing (from 1948 to 1955), Berger became an art critic, publishing many essays and reviews in the New Statesman. His Marxist humanism and his strongly stated opinions on modern art made him a controversial figure early in his career. He titled an early collection of essays Permanent Red, in part as a statement of political commitment, and later wrote that before the USSR achieved nuclear parity with the US he had felt constrained not to criticize the former's policies; afterwards his attitude toward the Soviet state became considerably more critical.
After a childless first marriage, Berger has three children: Jacob, a film director; Katya, a writer and film critic; and Yves, an artist.
Literary careerIn 1958 Berger published his first novel, A Painter of Our Time, which tells the story of the disappearance of Janos Lavin, a fictional exiled Hungarian painter, and his diary's discovery by an art critic friend called John. The book's political currency and detailed description of an artist's working process led to some readers mistaking it for a true story. After being available for a month, the work was withdrawn by the publisher, under pressure from the Congress for Cultural Freedom . The novels immediately succeeding A Painter of Our Time were The Foot of Clive and Corker's Freedom; both presented an urban English life of alienation and melancholy. In 1962 Berger's distaste for life in Britain drove him into a voluntary exile in France.
In 1972 the BBC broadcast his television series Ways of Seeing and published its companion text, an introduction to the study of images. The work was in part derived from Walter Benjamin's essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
His novel G., a romantic picaresque set in Europe in 1898, won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize in 1972. When accepting the Booker Berger made a point of donating half his cash prize to the Black Panther Party in Britain, and retaining half to support his work on the study of migrant workers that became A Seventh Man, insisting on both as necessary parts of his political struggle.
Many of his texts, from sociological studies to fiction and poetry, deal with experience. Berger's sociological writings include A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor (1967) and A Seventh Man: Migrant Workers in Europe (1975). His research for A Seventh Man led to an interest in the world which migrant workers had left behind: isolated rural communities. It was his work on this theme that led him to settle in Quincy, a small village in the Haute-Savoie, where he has lived and farmed since the mid-1970s. Berger and photographer Jean Mohr, his frequent collaborator, seek to document and to understand intimately the lived experiences of their peasant subjects. Their subsequent book Another Way of Telling discusses and illustrates their documentary technique and treats the theory of photography both through Berger's essays and Mohr's photographs. His studies of single artists include most prominently The Success and Failure of Picasso (1965), a survey of the modernist's career; and Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny, Endurance, and the Role of the Artist, on the Soviet dissident sculptor's aesthetic and political contributions.
In the 1970s Berger collaborated with the Swiss director Alain Tanner on several films; he wrote or co-wrote La Salamandre (1971), The Middle of the World (1974) and Jonah who will be 25 in the year 2000 (1976). His major fictional work of the 1980s, the trilogy Into Their Labours (made up of the novels Pig Earth, Once in Europa, and Lilac and Flag), treats the European peasant experience from its farming roots into contemporary economic and political displacement and urban poverty.
In recent essays Berger has written about photography, art, politics, and memory; he published in The Shape of a Pocket a correspondence with Subcomandante Marcos, and written short stories appearing in the Threepenny Review and The New Yorker. His sole volume of poetry is Pages of the Wound, though other volumes such as the theoretical essay And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos contain poetry as well as prose. His recent novels include To the Wedding, a love story dealing with the AIDS crisis stemming from his own familial experience, and King: A Street Story, a novel on homeless and shantytown life told from the perspective of a street dog. Berger initially insisted that his name be kept off the cover and title page of King, wanting the novel to be received on its own merits.
Berger's 1980 volume About Looking includes an influential chapter, "Why Look at Animals?" It is cited by numerous scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies, a group that seeks broadly to consider human-animal relations and the cultural construction of terms like 'human,' 'animal' and so on. Collectively they took Berger's question to mean that scholars are surrounded by animals but often do not actually see them, and that there are good theoretical and ethical reasons to study animals in the humanities.
Berger's most recent novel, From A to X, was longlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize; Berger and Salman Rushdie were the only former winners to be nominated in that year.
- A Painter of Our Time (1958)
- Permanent Red (1960)
- The Foot of Clive (1962)
- Corker's Freedom (1964)
- The Success and Failure of Picasso (1965)
- A Fortunate Man (1967)
- Art and Revolution: Ernst Neizvestny And the Role of the Artist in the U.S.S.R (1969)
- The Moment of Cubism and Other Essays (1969)
- The Look of Things: Selected Essays and Articles (1972)
- Ways of Seeing (1972)
- G. (1972)
- A Seventh Man (1975)
- About Looking (1980)
- Into Their Labours (Pig Earth, Once in Europa, Lilac and Flag. A Trilogy)
- Another Way of Telling (1982)
- And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos (1984)
- The White Bird (U.S. title: The Sense of Sight) (1985)
- Keeping a Rendezvous (1992)
- Pages of the Wound (1994)
- To the Wedding (1995)
- Photocopies (1996)
- King: A Street Story (1999)
- Selected Essays (Geoff Dyer, ed.) (2001)
- The Shape of a Pocket
- I Send You This Cadmium Red (with John Christie)
- Titian: Nymph and Shepherd (with Katya Berger)
- Here is Where We Meet
- Hold Everything Dear (2007)
- From A to X (2008)
- ^ Births England and Wales 1837-1983
- ^ a b "John Berger", Literary Encyclopedia
- ^ Profile of Berger at OpenDemocracy.net
- ^ McNay, Michael (24 November 1972). "Berger turns tables on Booker". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/1972/nov/24/mainsection.fromthearchive. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- ^ Christian Dimitriu, Alain Tanner, Paris: Henri Veyrier, 1985, pp. 125-134.
- ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2008/jul/29/bookerprize 2008 Booker longlist announced
- Dyer, Geoff Ways of Telling: The Work of John Berger, ISBN 0-7453-0097-9.
- Dyer, Geoff (Ed.) John Berger, Selected Essays, Bloomsbury. ISBN 0-375-71318-2.
- Krautz, Jochen Vom Sinn des Sichtbaren. John Bergers Ästhetik und Ethik als Impuls für die Kunstpädagogik am Beispiel der Fotografie, Hamburg 2004 (Dr. Kovac) ISBN 3-8300-1287-X.  (German)
- John Berger's political ways of seeing Interview transcript with Ramona Koval on The Book Show, ABC Radio National , 14 January 2008
- Online extract from 'A Seventh Man' published in 'Race & Class', 1975
- Notes on the Gaze by Daniel Chandler
- Illustrations and Amplifications for John Berger's Ways of Seeing
- John Berger addresses the 2008 Palestine Festival of Literature
- Excerpt from Ways of Seeing
- part of Ch.1 of Ways of Seeing
- online version of Ways of Seeing
- John Berger, "Virtual Interview by Beta_Nzos" (Alan F. Sundberg) in Prospect Magazine, Dec 2000
- An interview with Berger from the San Francisco Chronicle
- Profile and interview from the London Telegraph
- Berger article from online Literary Encyclopedia
- What He Saw, Review of... John Berger, Selected Essays by Jim Lewis, Village Voice, February 15th, 2002
- Written in the night, the pain of living in the present world By John Berger, Le Monde diplomatique, February 2003
- "John Berger pays tribute to his good friend", The Observer, 8 August 2004. (On Henri Cartier-Bresson)
- The beginning of history, review of the film, Fahrenheit 9/11, John Berger, The Guardian, August 24, 2004
- johnberger.org, web site for the 2005 release of Here is Where We Meet and associated events in London
- John Berger, Islington, Prospect magazine, March 2005
- "A radical returns". The Guardian April 3, 2005.
- Bloomsbury Author Page features biography and bibliography.
- The bloody outcome of two worlds at war, John Berger, Sunday July 17, 2005 The Observer
- Notes for his art exhibition in Cork, Ireland, 2005
- That have not been asked: ten dispatches about endurance in face of walls, 2005
- Undefeated despair, John Berger, 13-1-2006
- We must speak out: Berger launches cultural boycott of Israel
- An Interview with John Berger by Li-Hsin Kuo (in Chinese). from shihlun/punctum
- John Berger page at the British Library, with pictures, audio diary and links relating to the donation of Berger's archive in 2009